Pilot Error or Microbursts?

There is strong evidence linking Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-971 crash landing to be cause by micro burst when it skidded off the runway at Davao International Airport on Sunday night.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said another Cebu Pacific plane, an ATR-72 turboprop from Cagayan de Oro bearing Flight no 5J-215, swerved after touchdown in heavy rains at 6 pm hitting two runway lights. The Airbus Flight 5J-971 touched down at 7:10 p.m. Sunday.

CAAP said they learned about the incident only during the inspection of the runway on Monday as the pilot did not report the incident but the ATR's landing gear were damaged during the landing maneuver.

A micro burst is a weather associated violent short-lived localized downdraft that creates extreme wind shears at low altitudes and is usually present during thunderstorms.

First known in 1981, micro burst caused the crash of Delta Air Lines Flight 191 on August 2, 1985 while on approach to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport during a thunderstorm. The science of microbursts can be read here.


  1. Let's do everybody a favor and wait for the investigation result.

  2. Do yourself a favor and stop reading possible scenarios of the crash.

  3. AAIIB has found "pilot error" as the cause of the runway incident at RPMD on June 2. CAAP ordered the pilot suspended for six months and his co-pilot suspended for three months.

    Capt. Roel Oropesa has been placed on a 6-month suspension, after which he will only be allowed a second-in-command position for a year.

    His co-pilot, First Officer Edwin Perello has been suspended for three months.

    In a press conference, CAAP deputy director general John Andrews said the pilots should not have landed, citing regulations that disallow planes from landing in the event of zero visibility.

    He explained heavy rains fell as the plane was landing, but the pilot proceeded to the runway.